It’s no secret that Millennials tend to dance to the beat of their own drums. Though not as counter-cultural as often thought, Millennials have shifted the wedding norms, to be sure.
- More Than One Ring
We aren’t talking about an engagement and wedding ring — though that’s perfectly common. We mean one more expensive ring and one ring for everyday wear.
Silicone rings and travel rings are common choices for Millennials who want a more expensive ring but only for special occasions. This is especially true if the couple travels often (which Millennials do more than previous generations).
- Getting Married Later (or Not at All)
Millennials are getting married later than previous generations, on average. The average Millennial woman gets married at 29, and the average Millennial man gets married at 30. While those numbers have been slowly trending upwards for years now, Millennials are getting married even later than previous generations.
Just 44 percent of Millennials are married. In fairness, there are several reasons behind this stat. Among the biggest ones is that the youngest of Millennials is only 26, a.k.a. three to four years younger than the average Millennial marriage age.
There are also plenty of Millennials in long-term committed relationships who aren’t married. Still, it’s a divergence from wedding norms of generations past.
- Wedding Dress Colors
White isn’t going out of style and likely never will. However, we’re seeing an uptick in non-white dresses. Millennial brides are stepping out in style with dresses in a variety of colors. While white will likely always be the norm, it’s no longer the only choice nor the default one.
- Who Pays for the Wedding?
Parents still pay for weddings on average, but not nearly as routinely as before. More and more Millennial couples are choosing to pay for some or all of the wedding themselves.
- Costs Are Up…
An average Millennial wedding actually costs more than in years past, though Millennials hold less wealth at their ages than previous generations did. The disbursement of costs looks much different as well.
Millennials tend to put more money into venues and vendors than previous generations did. Weddings are seen more as “events” for Millennials, with wedding weekends becoming more common. Millennials plan further in advance, as a result, because the venue and vendors being what they’re looking for is of the utmost importance.
One place Millennials aren’t spending lavishly is wedding rings. While traditional options are still popular, plenty of Millennials are choosing affordable engagement rings for their big day or as a ring to wear on a daily basis if they choose a more expensive wedding ring.
- …But Weddings Are Smaller
Interestingly enough, on average, Millennials include fewer people in their weddings. While their costs are higher, more Millennials are choosing intimate ceremonies both at home and at a fun destination.
Millennials crave authenticity on their wedding day, so it seems a natural next move to trim the guest list. If you get an invite, take it as a compliment. The barrier to entry at a Millennial wedding is often higher than in previous generations.
- Customized Ceremonies
It’s an often-criticized character trait of Millennials, but it is an on-the-nose observation. Millennials like customized experiences. Who doesn’t enjoy a tailor-made event, especially when getting married, though? Seriously, it’s a weird thing to hate on, but so be it.
Millennials still tend to integrate traditional wedding elements, but they either cherry-pick which ones they want or they re-imagine them to be more on the theme of their wedding.
- Social Media Integration
Even if hashtags existed 30 years ago, you likely wouldn’t see them at weddings. However, a wedding hashtag is now quite popular as part of the overall marketing (for lack of a better term) behind a Millennial wedding.
It’s a really clever idea, too. If guests use the wedding hashtag in their social media posts, it’s easy for the couple to go back and experience their big day from all different perspectives.
- Only a Little ’Stitious
Wedding superstitions aren’t gone, but they’re definitely not as foundational. The biggest one of these is the “first look” trend that Millennials often integrate into the wedding. While it’s generally considered bad luck to see the bride before the wedding, Millennials are embracing a first look. It has to be a wedding photographer’s dream because the photos are always tear-jerkers.
Weddings aren’t wasteful by nature, but they sure can be. With more single-use plastics at a wedding reception than at a small department store, weddings aren’t exactly eco-friendly by default. However, Millennials are embracing sustainable options for their wedding receptions. Single-use plastics aren’t gone, but compostable and reusable alternatives are becoming increasingly popular.
A Millennial wedding is often customized and more sustainable — often an experience more than just an event. While these trends don’t hold true for every Millennial wedding out there, don’t be surprised to see at least some of them if you attend one!